Aquinas U18s followed in the footsteps of the Year 9 team a day earlier and progressed to the next stage of the Belfast Cup. The 3-1 defeat of Belfast Royal Academy somewhat masked a tense affair where Aquinas trailed 1-0 for almost three quarters of the match. A terrific equalising goal by Conor Dunlop was only surpassed by two goals from Ben Scullion to seal a place in the next round.

That Aquinas had to rely on goals from a full-back and a defensive midfielder only in part highlights some of the opportunities squandered in front of goal. Mr Quinn & Mr McGrath were amazed to see the team reach half time one nil down. After a few choice words at half time Aquinas piled on the pressure and with just under 15mins left Conor Dunlop found the top corner with a great curving shot from the corner of the penalty box. It was a spectacular equaliser and just reward for a player who had worked persistently up and down the left handside. Minutes later Ben Scullion scrambled in a second goal at the near post from an Aquinas corner… and then went on to settle matters -securing his second of the afternoon & a “man of the match” award – with a 25 yard drive beating the BRA keeper for a third time.

Aquinas looked the superior team, but with so many missed chances and one excellent stop from Criostor Devlin in goals the story could have been very different. James Lawlor had another fantastic performance at full back as did captain Joe Shields at centre-back. Barrie Lynch made a big difference in the middle of the park when he came on as substitute and Ciaran McColgan put in a tireless performance. Congratulations lads!

J McGrath